01 October 2009

Celebrating Biodiversity through Fashion and Textiles

Before next day shipping, internet shopping, and tools of mass production, what people of the world wore could read as a map of local ecology and wildlife. Now, as technology and high speed travel allow for fashionistas in all corners of the globe to sport whatever fabrics strike their fancy (for the most part), there is a movement afoot to slow down, localize, and create healthy, place based textiles and garments that are regenerative in nature.

This manifests into a whole new take on the traditional- a fusion of sustainability movements, ethno-botany and traditional craft, this exploration of uses of native plants in dyes and fabrics, as well as indigenous textile process takes cues and hues from the Slow Food movement. Permacouture Institute is one organization pioneering the way for creating ecoliteracy and biodiversity through fashion. Founder Sasha Duerr fuses her experience in textile and garment design with her education in permaculture, resulting in a milieu of educational and ecological opportunities “from seed to studio”. Looking to create a healthy fusion between ecology and culture (I'm feelin those permaculture roots!), the Permacouture Institute's think tank-abilities range from creating curriculum for schools and community gardens to researching and educating designers on natural dyes and creative re-use and recycling of fiber.

One of several of their dynamic programs, Seeds to Sew, encourages seed saving of the dye and textile plants on a global and local level. This ensures the identification and survival of unique fiber fabulous and dye plants while increasing biodiversity. We'll be keeping our eyes on these folks, looking for their next fashion functional dose of ecoliteracy.